The reason why the majority of shoppers continue to prefer brick-and-mortar stores is that they cannot fully visualize products in online stores. But, technology is fast evolving.
Augmented Reality (AR) is giving a physical dimension to online shopping, never experienced before.
What is AR?
First of all, let me make it clear that augmented reality is not virtual reality. Unlike virtual reality, Augmented Reality does not create a virtual environment around you. On the contrary, it enables you to interact with the real world by adding virtual objects.
In other words, AR or Augmented Reality transforms the physical environment around us into a digital interface by superimposing virtual objects in the real world, in real-time.
AR merges the real world with the virtual world creating an illusion that can effectively engage users and solve complex problems.
The superimposed computer-generated images give an enhanced version of reality.
How AR works?
Augmented Reality simply places the digital image onto the live camera feed, making them appear as if they are part of the real world.
The digital image is presented in a manner that it becomes part of the real world through a process known as rendering.
The computer vision first reads the real-world conditions from the camera. This requires understanding the world both in terms of semantics and 3D geometry. Semantics and geometry ensure that the image is placed at the right place and angle.
The rendering mechanism then overlaps the digital image onto the real-world environment through 3D positioning and box orientation.
All this happens in real-time, so a new frame has to come out of the camera every time.
Applications of AR
Perhaps the most prominent application of AR technologies is in mobile games.
AR is also being used in Heads-Up Displays (HUD) to project navigation, speed limit, and other parameters in front of the pilots.
AR-enabled online shopping is the new trend that is creating the buzz. In fact, companies have already started offering AR-enabled mobile application to enhance the user experience.
Another application of AR is interior designing and construction. Medical AR gives a 3D view of the part being operated allowing greater precision and lesser risk. Besides, AR has applications in sightseeing and tourism.
Ever thought of finding the right place for furniture in your living room before buying it? Or wondered how a beach view would appear from your window? Well, it’s all possible with AR.
How AR can boost your eCommerce sales
The Harvard Business Review stated that augmented reality spending will reach $60 billion by 2020.
Make your products come alive
We all know that customers want a higher and higher level of online interactivity. Greater interactivity, greater the chances of the website being visited. This is exactly what AR does.
AR increases the level of interaction with your products. People can view the product from different angles.
They can see how a new sofa will fit in their living room or whether the new curtains will look good with the colors of their walls.
So basically, you allow the customers to check as much as they can before they buy the product.
Give them a never before shopping experience
Customers prefer buying from sites that offer them the widest range of products. It is not just the product that matters to them, but also the variations in the product so that they get the right product as per their taste.
Think about it this way. A customer visits your store to buy a men’s wristwatch. In a conventional store, he checks out a number of wristwatches of different combinations: colors and brands before placing the order.
But, a persistent question remains in his mind – How the watch will look on my hand? And, this causes many customers to visit a nearby store. So that he can physically check watches on his hand before buying one.
However, in an AR-enabled online store, the customer not only gets to choose from different brands but can also see how actually the watch will look on his hand.
All this at the convenience of his home.
AR is not just about product visualization. It also studies human behavior and preferences to understand liking and disliking of a person.
An online retailer can make use of this technology in understanding what drives buying in customers. Repeat this activity and you can see your sales zoom past your expectations.
How personalized shopping works?
AR continuously tracks the products viewed by the customer and prepares a database of all such products. Such a database is fairly reflective of liking and disliking of a customer.
For example, a customer may search for television, home theatres, headphones, and laptops. Based on his activity, AR can easily interpret that he is interested in gadgets.
And, so the next time, he visits the store, the AR displays him all the new offers and launches related to electronics and gadgets. This increases the engagement of the user and influences his buying behavior.
Research suggests that stores that garner more customer engagement sell more. Keeping customers engaged is the key to increased store sales. And, AR is your best bet to increase the sales of your online store.
With augmented reality shopping, customers engage more when they can visualize and check the specifications of products offered by you.
Imagine a 360-degree view of the product. The customers are able to see the product as they see in a physical store. All this at the convenience of their homes.
Then why would anyone visit the local store when he can see the product and order the same sitting at home? Obviously, this increases the sales of your online store a lot more with AR apps.
With more than 65% of online shopping happening through mobile phones, AR without mobile phones is unimaginable.
Customers too vie for a mobile app that offers them AR-enabled shopping. I mean who doesn’t want to interact more with the product they are interested in buying. Add to this, the increased customer engagement that AR offers.
In all, an AR-enabled shopping app is unbeatable.
Collaborative shopping technology enables your customers to view products in 4D and share the screenshots of the products with their friends at the same time; bringing the best of AR and social networking.
Give your customers an unforgettable shopping experience with MageNative’s AR-enabled Mobile App.
The market abounds with eCommerce apps that offer similar features as you do like push notification, google analytics, payment gateways, etc.
It’s obvious why people will choose your shopping app over others? This is where AR comes in.
The reality technology offered by AR creates a distinct appeal in the eyes of customers. Imagine upon tapping a push notification, the customer is instantly able to see a 360-degree view of the product.
Native apps are the best bet to offer such functionality.
Abhishek Jaiswal is the Co-founder of CedCommerce. He founded the company as a result of his wish to simplify the process of setting up an online business for millions of people around the globe. Hailing from a technical background, Abhishek is an avid writer as well and is a regular contributor to various reputed magazines and journals. When not coding or writing, you can find him studying business processes and their intricacies.